Commission will hold quarterly evening work sessions to test public participation




District 4 Commissioner Waymon Pitts and District 2 Commissioner Robert Bullard take oaths of office Wednesday following their election on Nov. 4. Pitts's wife, Jackie, holds the Bible as he is sworn in by Probate Judge David Standridge, who also did the honors for Bullard.

District 4 Commissioner Waymon Pitts and District 2 Commissioner Robert Bullard take oaths of office Wednesday following their election on Nov. 4. Pitts’s wife, Jackie, holds the Bible as he is sworn in by Probate Judge David Standridge, who also did the honors for Bullard.

The Blount County Commission voted Nov. 12 to continue the meeting schedule that it has followed for the last several years, with one exception. One of the three quarterly work sessions will be held at night.

The change responds to some citizens’ concerns at being unable to get off work to attend daytime meetings. If the quarterly night sessions improve public participation, the evening schedule might be expanded.

Public meetings will continue to be held the second Monday of each month, following a planning meeting or work session the preceding Thursday, all regularly beginning at 9 a.m.

County administrator Chris Green said the exact date to begin the evening session will likely be announced at the public meeting Dec. 4, and that consideration may be given to holding the evening work session at one or more remote locations around the county.

New Business

In new business, the commission authorized the chairman to enter into a three-way agreement between the state, the county commission, and county agencies serving the aging and mentally handicapped in connection with public transportation services the county provides: Jefferson/Blount Association for Retarded Citizens will pay $61,676; Blount County Program on Aging, $109,703; and the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP), $5,490.

The commission appointed seven members to four-year terms on Palisades Park board of directors: Eldridge Bynum, Sandy Holland, Kenneth Wright, Linda Marsh, Kenneth Johnson, Ramey Peters, and Bob Turley.

The commission authorized the chairman to sign the annual contract for services supplied to the Almeda Robertson Adult Day Health Center. The contract specifies that state Department of Human Resources will pay up to $58,810 for day care for 19 adults selected by Blount County DHR and defined as being “at risk” for various reasons if not properly cared for during the day.

The commission authorized bid invitations for a new pick up truck for District 4, and approved purchase of a 2001 3/4-ton Dodge truck from ADECA surplus for $6000 for District 3.

The expenditure for the annual employee Christmas luncheon was approved, not to exceed the legal limit of $2500.

Budget Amendments

The commission authorized the county administrator to amend the budget to:

• acknowledge receipt of a $100,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) to start up a Blount County Economic Development Office. The joint effort with St. Clair County will largely phase out as the Blount office begins operation, following a first-year cost of operation of $120,000. One of the first tasks of the newly appointed Blount County Industrial Development Board will be to hire a qualified director for the Blount County Economic Development Office.

• carry over from the 2008 budget $29,723 in donations made to Palisades Park.

• account for the trade-in and purchase of a new motor grader for District 1, as approved in the October meeting

• carry over unexpended funds from districts’ 2008 budgets to the current budget year, as follows:

District 1—–$40,664 District 2—– 45,079

District 3—–189,146

District 4—– 3,568

Engineering matters

The commission:

• rescinded preliminary plat approval of six lots off Ala 160 in District 1 for Cross Creek Estates developed by Soterra LLC. The developer has decided not to develop the tract.

• scheduled a public hearing at the next work session, Thursday, Dec. 4, at 9 a.m. on a request from P.W. Murphree to establish a private cemetery in Section 9, Township 13 South, Range 3 East, off Cliff Springs Road. Additional information is available from county engineer Richard Spraggins. The commission will accept oral and written comments at the hearing. Writtten comments may be submitted at the meeting or in advance to Spraggins.

• authorized the chairman to sign an agreement with the St. Clair County Commission concerning maintenance of roads along the Blount- St. Clair County line. (See map for details.)

Present for the meeting were commissioners Robert Bullard, Tom Ryan, and Waymon Pitts, and Commission Chairman David Standridge. The next commission work session will be Thursday, Dec. 4, at 9.a.m. The next business meeting will be Monday, Dec. 8, at 9 a.m.